15 Secrets To A Healthy & Youthful Body!
Secrets To A Healthy & Youthful Body!
If I could save a penny every time someone went on a diet, I’d be a wealthy woman! And yet, most of the population is still unhappy with their bodies. Unfortunately, success rates for weight-loss (along with the required lifestyle changes) range only from 2% to 20% (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition).
Why is there so much failure?
Because there is so much misinformation. There is a deluge of undereducated trainers / authors / entrepreneurs out there trying to make a quick buck at your expense!
Do you want to lose weight? Yes! Then incorporate each one of these 15 secrets & it’ll be practically impossible to fail! Here they are:
1. The Only Constant In Life Is Change
To accomplish your goals you must incorporate change. But first you need to understand change. Here are four mistakes to avoid:
Trying to Make Too Many Changes at Once:
Both the human body & the human mind rebel against too many changes at once.
The only route to success is to choose one habit at a time (either a bad habit to break or a good habit to learn). When you’re at the point that you can’t imagine how you ever did without that good habit (or you can’t imagine that you ever had that bad habit) only then are you ready to move on. Choose the next habit you want to break or learn.
Trying to Willfully Force Change:
You cannot force change, not over the extended amount of time it takes to achieve your goals. You have to really want the change itself, not just the result. You literally have to rewire what you think of that habit before you can change or ingrain it. Start by talking yourself into it.
Focusing on The Wrong Changes:
Focusing on aesthetics regardless of the effects upon your health only sabotages your efforts in the long run. Make your primary goal health. Ensure that the change that you’ve chosen is in harmony with becoming healthier. Because with optimal health, esthetics will naturally follow.
Trying to Change Too Fast:
Both the human body & the human mind rebel against accelerated change. Which is fine because the human body can metabolize only 1.5 pounds of fat in a week anyway (or approximately 6 pounds in a month).
So, if you lose more weight than this within a week, you may also be losing precious calorie-burning muscle! This will, over time, lower your metabolism & sabotage your weight loss efforts.
Not to mention all that loose skin!
It's better to lose the weight slowly, retain your muscle mass & allow your skin the time to regenerate "smaller" so that it will still tightly hug your smaller body.
Change Must Start at the Subconscious Level With Daily Positive Affirmations. It's The One Way to Success.
2. Knowledge Is Power
Are you aware of what really works & what doesn’t?
- The greatest contributor to effective weight loss (up to 80%) is proper nutrition & food portion control.
- The second greatest contributor (overall / long-term) is weight training.
- The third is simple lifestyle changes.
- The fourth is cardiovascular training.
Why is it, when people decide to lose weight, do they turn almost exclusively to cardiovascular activity? I have no idea!
You want this to work over the long haul, right? So, does that mean:
- Incorporating a half-baked myth verbalized over 250 pages in a book written by an under-educated author & sold using sensationalized advertising?
- Or using scientific knowledge?
It’s your choice…
What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over & over again & expecting different results.— Albert Einstein
Yet so many folks continue to jump on the latest bandwagon & follow bizarre information (exercise & nutritional myths) that has no basis in science or health care. You need the correct (scientifically proven) information. We can help you there.
Which of these mistakes have you made?
3. An Apple a Day Keeps The Doctor Away
Eat real food! What do I mean by real food? It has two outstanding characteristics:
- It must be grown &
- Our bodies carry a corresponding enzyme to catalyze digestion, nutrient extraction & finally elimination.
The corporate world has taken food & mixed it with fillers & chemicals (preservatives & artificial flavours) then brainwashed us into thinking that’s how everyone eats. So we find ourselves buying & eating food products instead of real food & the corporations make a profit. Our health care expenses increase while the land-fill is cluttered with empty containers. It's that simple.
Processed food contains a small amount of what the body may recognize as food. The rest (high-fructose cornsyrup, transfats, sulfites, MSG, preservatives, colouring, etc.) is turned into toxic fat & stored in the adipose tissue or on the inside of the arteries – as the theory goes.
Rule of thumb - if it’s processed & in a package - don’t buy it. As much as possible, purchase the raw ingredients & prepare your meals yourself.
The healthiest choice is getting as close as you can to using clean, harvested crops & butchered animal products when putting your meals together in your own kitchen:
- Fruit & Vegetables
- Meat, Eggs
- Beans, Lentils
- Milk, Yoghurt, Cheese, Butter
- Olive Oil & Flax-seed Oil
- Barley & Spelt
- Brown Rice & Quinoa
- 100% Whole Wheat
- Steel-cut Oats
- Nuts (Walnut, Almonds, Pecans, Hazelnuts)
- Seeds (Chia, Pumpkin)
- Herbs & Spices
- Garlic & Ginger
- 100% Maple Syrup & Honey
Remember. Demand value for your calorie! In other words, the most nutrients per calorie possible.
Learn to use herbs & spices to make your meals delicious. If you need a sweetener, cinnamon & nutmeg work well. Otherwise stick with 100% pure maple syrup - yes, the real kind.
4. Food For Thought
With most food you can get away with moderation. However, the following foods are the exception – for the best results, look toward the alternatives instead.
Saturated fat - for cooking or frying. Pour a small amount of water in the bottom of your pan. It works just as well.
Potatoes – or anything made from one, as their glycemic index is too high (yes, that means French fries). Eat yams instead (no, that does not include yam fries).
Juice - puts too much sugar, too quickly into your blood stream without the pulp to back it up. When you have too much sugar in your blood your pancreas secretes insulin, all the sugar is removed from your blood, converted to fat & stuffed into your fat cells. Leaving you not only heavier, but hungry too. This is called the Insulin Reaction. Eat the fruit instead.
Quick cook rice or oatmeal - How do you think it cooks so quickly? It’s pre-cooked with added salt, sugar & “Gawd” knows what else!
Cereal - is a total joke. It is processed & very expensive for what you get. Buy a bag of oatmeal instead – the slow-cook kind (STEEL CUT OATS ARE THE LEAST PROCESSED). It is healthy & inexpensive. Add:
- Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
- Nuts, flax seeds & chia seeds
- Blueberries or banana
- Maple syrup
- 2 tbsp of quinoa to your steel cut oats so that you get the entire chain of essential amino acids first thing in the morning.
Junk food – candy, chips & pop – your body doesn’t even recognize this junk as food. These products are processed & mostly made from chemicals. Although it’s not proven, there is a theory that the body does not have the appropriate enzymes to rid itself of these chemicals, so they are stuffed into the fat cells creating toxic fat. Toxic fat is more difficult to get rid of than normal fat.
Margarine - It's processed! Use monounsaturated & polyunsaturated fat instead. No, this doesn’t contribute to your fat cells; rather, it’s used to build your cells' membranes. This is crucial to regeneration & a youthful appearance. It also adds to the feeling of fullness & satiation from a meal & therefore, will help tremendously with curbing nasty cravings.
- Add sun-dried tomatoes (packed in unsaturated oil) to your sauté
- Toss your salad in olive oil.
- Add hazelnuts, almonds or walnuts to your meal.
Sugar - It's processed!
What about the artificial sweeteners? Are you kidding me! Please reread section #3.
5. It’s Five O’clock Somewhere!
Wine & beer are excellent aids for chilling out at the end of a hectic day & therefore are deemed healthy when consumed in moderation. So, stick to one drink a day for women & two drinks a day for men.
Not only is alcohol high in calories, it lowers your metabolism for the duration that it’s in your bloodstream.
6. You Can Lead a Horse to Water, But You Can’t Make Him Drink
Start drinking at least 8 glasses of water throughout the day. For every cup of coffee or tea & every alcoholic beverage, add yet another glass of water.
For variety, add to your glass:
- A slice of lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit
- Grated ginger
- Sliced up cucumbers
- A sprig of mint
During the warmer seasons, add ice as well. Your body will burn calories just warming up that ice-cold water.
7. A Bit Long In The Tooth
Many free radicals within the human body are necessary for life. Such as the macrophages (little Pac Men like cells) that run around the body gobbling up bacteria & dead tissue.
The problem comes in when too many free radicals are released. They tend to damage the cells around them. This damage can lead to diseases like cancer, stroke, heart attack, diabetes & ‘gasp’, ‘choke’, AGING!
There are numerous studies showing evidence for the free radical theory of aging. This theory states that organisms age because cells accumulate free radical damage over time.
Antioxidants can help neutralize free radicals:
- Vitamin C (fruit & vegetables)
- Vitamin E (vegetables oils, nuts & seed)
- Carotenoids (fruit, vegetables & eggs)
Or better yet, prevent the free radicals from being released at all! Defend against bacteria by thoroughly washing your hands & properly washing food & dishes.
Don’t forget your mouth! The flow of saliva slows significantly during sleep causing your mouth to dry out. This allows bacteria to proliferate overnight. Come morning, don’t let that bacteria slide down your throat. Immediately upon waking, thoroughly floss & brush your teeth (remember your tongue) especially before you eat or drink anything.
8. Hell-Bent For Breakfast
Break that fast! Eat breakfast & every few hours thereafter.
Plan & prepare your food so that you eat every three hours. It’ll keep your metabolic rate constant, your blood sugar balanced & will curb cravings.
The body does not store protein except in the form of muscle. You don't want your body breaking down hard earned, calorie-burning muscle! Keep protein circulating in your blood stream - include protein with every meal.
Never allow yourself to become ravenous. Carrying a tiny jar of almonds helps if you’re caught-out & hungry. A spice jar is the perfect size!
9. A Little Hard Work Never Hurt Anyone
Use it or lose it!
Every year after the age of 30, you lose half a pound of muscle. Once a muscle fibre is lost, you can never gain it back. This explains why your 80 year old mother cannot climb stairs anymore – the loss of too many muscle fibres.
Weight training with correct form, impeccable posture & an effective amount of weight will:
- Ensure against the loss of muscle fibres
- Densify the muscle that you have by adding more contractile units & thereby strengthening your muscle
- Strengthen your bones, ligaments & tendons
- Prevent injury
- Add shapeliness to your figure
- Burn calories
- Make everyday activities easier
TWO WEIGHT TRAINING SECRETS THAT VERY FEW PEOPLE KNOW:
You Only Need One Set
A muscle group only needs to be stimulated once to begin the physiological process of building new contractile units within the muscle fibre. In other words, one set - with an effective amount of weight, with repetitions till muscle exhaustion - is all it takes.
Each time you finish a weight training set, immediately stretch the muscle you just used!
Remember, multiple sets on one muscle group are a total waste of time.
You Only Need to Weight-Train Once a Week!
Assuming your workout includes all the muscle groups.
Ward off injury & inflammation. Each muscle group needs a week’s rest between sessions to rebuild & heal. Thus, if you:
- Break up your training between upper body & lower body muscle groups, you’ll only need to weight train for two 20 - 25 minute sessions a week.
- Train all your muscle groups during one session a week, you'll need between 40 - 50 minutes.
10. The First Thing You Lose on a Diet is Your Sense of Humour
Diets do not work. Diets create a downward spiral eventually leading to overall weight gain causing feelings of failure, a seeping away of self-esteem & possibly depression.
There are always new diets on the market, usually in the form of a book that recommends eliminating essential nutrients & sold using sensationalist advertising. Remember! These books were published in the pursuit of money.
Sure, you’ll lose weight at first, but later on you’ll gain that weight back & have health problems to boot! And whilst you suffer, the author & publisher of the diet book are long gone & unaccountable for their advice.
Smart eating habits are a lifestyle. So, don’t deny yourself, but don’t overindulge either. Instead, indulge yourself just a little at every meal & stick with your favourites.
How many nutrient restrictive diets have you been on?
11. Early to Bed & Early to Rise Makes a Man Healthy, Wealthy & Wise
What do you think happens when you sleep?
- It's during sleep that your body repairs & regenerates itself.
What do you think happens after years of sleep depravation?
- All that lack of repair & regeneration ages you & lowers your immune system.
It's so important to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night!
As well, inadequate sleep:
- Reduces energy
- Increases appetite
- Promotes fat retention
- Interferes with the body's ability to metabolize sugar thereby causing the insulin reaction.
12. Like Using A Sledgehammer to Crack a Nut
Stop stressing out!
Chronic stress triggers the body to increase cortisol levels in the blood stream beyond what is healthy. Over a prolonged period of time, cortisol produces the following negative effects:
- Suppressed thyroid function
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Decreased bone density
- Decrease in muscle tissue
- Increased abdominal fat
- Loss of collagen in the skin & inhibition of further collagen formation
Taking time for yourself can be something as simple as meditating, a walk, a massage or even a yearly retreat.
Do what it takes to reorganize your life with the goal of reducing the amount of stress.
13. Pull Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps!
Consistent daily movement is really what works over the long term. Search for calorie burning opportunities:
- Start each morning with a ten-minute stretch routine.
- Park further away & walk whenever possible.
- Accomplish all your errands in an urban, “walkable” neighbourhood of the city.
- Swear to yourself that you’ll never see the inside of another elevator & take the stairs every chance you get.
- Set a timer to go off once per hour while working at your desk. Take that opportunity to stand up, stretch, use the washroom, get a glass of water, etc.
- Try to move or get some form of exercise every day.
14. Put Your Best Foot Forward
Cardiovascular or aerobic exercise is important for the health of your heart, lungs & circulatory system. Are you shuddering from the very thought of hamster-wheel fitness equipment?
No worries, it's healthier to use a variety of activities. Just start walking! It's more fun if you can keep track of your progress with a pedometer & heart rate monitor.
You don't need to run marathons to control your weight, just strap on a pedometer and lace up a pair of sneakers and put one foot in front of the other.— James Hill, PhD
Please note: Vigorous exercise causes inflammation, which in turn causes tissue damage. Free radicals such as macrophages are released to clean up.
Remember that your body requires rest & recuperation between exercise sessions. Otherwise too many free radicals will be in circulation, causing more cell damage, which in turn accelerates aging.
Marathons, triathalons & other extreme sports cause inflammation & aging. So if you are choosing to participate for the health benefits, don’t bother.
Life doesn't happen in a gym ... so get outside! Integrate movement into your life with fun & social activities:
- Brisk walks
- Golf (without the motorized cart)
- Racquet sports
- Team sports
- X-country skiing/snowshoeing
- An evening out dancing!
- Classes are great too! Pilates, Yoga, Zumba, Spinning, Aquafit, etc.
15. A Fool’s Paradise
Sell your television(s). Seriously! You’ll start losing weight immediately.
In most households, the television is on for an average of five hours per day. That’s an average of five hours of sitting around, not moving, not even thinking, every single day!
Remove that evil box & you’ll become bored & then restless – that burns calories! Eventually, you’ll think of alternative ways to spend your time. Perhaps you’ll take up rowing, snowshoeing, kickboxing or even just go for a walk!
Oh! Okay. You’re one of those people who don’t actually sit down to watch TV. You just have it on for company while you go about your business.
Don’t be fooled. You’re still listening to hours & hours of commercials informing you, in detail, on all the wonderful varieties of yummy processed food you can buy. Hours of programming where two-dimensional characters sit in pretend restaurants, or in their pretend homes eating ice-cream or drinking wine or other alcoholic beverages.
Regardless, of whether you’re watching or not, television works its wonders through your subconscious. When you reach for that sugary snack or that bag of salty, crunchie whatsits, you are convinced that it was your own idea. Warning! It might not have been…
Which lifestyle change are you most likely to incorporate?
So, if you follow these 15 secrets, you'll be pretty much guaranteed success! But remember, wrap your mind around the change, not just the result. And make only one change at a time. It may seem like it'll take longer, but really, it's the shortest route possible.
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© 2011 Sylvia Leong